‘Star Wars – The High Republic: Path of Deceit’ by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland marks the jumping-off point of ‘Quest of the Jedi’, the second phase of the High Republic literature initiative. Padawan Kevmo Vink and his Jedi Master investigate the mysterious Path of the Open Hand. A force cult based on the outer-rim world of Dalna. Listen to Star Wars: The High Republic: Path of Deceit via Audible.com.
The Story of Path of Deceit
Three hundred and eighty-two years before the events of A New Hope; one hundred and fifty years before Light of the Jedi. The High Republic: Path of Deceit shows us the earliest time period of the High Republic era that we’ve seen thus far. While ‘Light of the Jedi’ by Charles Soule launched the first phase of the High Republic with an epic, multi-perspective novel, Path of Deceit instead introduces the second phase in a much smaller-scale young adult novel. But that is by no means a bad thing here.
We won’t know for sure until the novel ‘The High Republic: Convergence’ by Zoraida Córdova releases later this year, but The High Republic: Path of Deceit feels like the right choice to start off this new phase of storytelling. There’s very little in terms of action, but there is drama, tension and tragedy in abundance, which drives Path of Deceit to be a constantly engaging story that will keep you wanting to read on.
A lot feels familiar despite being set decades before the existing High Republic stories. There is still that sense of the galaxy being large and unexplored. There you have hyperspace prospectors and Jedi going out into the known and unknown galaxy. Additionally, are also many hints to the origins of the marauders known as the ‘Nihil’. The main villains of the first High Republic phase. Path of Deceit is a story that is very much driven by its characters and their relationships with one another. Gratton and Ireland created an entire cast for this book, and they are all well brought to life. They feel instantly iconic yet also easy to understand and relate with.
The High Republic: Path of Deceit Jedi protagonist, Kemvo Zink, is a charming and likeable main character. Gratton/Ireland manages to make him instantly engaging and endearing. As a Jedi, he seems very unique compared to other members of his order. This is only enhanced when he meets Marda Ro of the Path of the Open Hand. Their bond creates the central foundation for the story and the majority of the intrigue.
Evereni member of the Path of the Open Hand, Marda Ro is this story’s second primary protagonist. While this does seem like Kevmo’s story at first, as the book goes on it more and more becomes about the two of them. Their relationship harkens to that of William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ due to their very different allegiances: Kevmo, like all Jedi, believes that the force should be used as a tool for good, however Marda Ro does not believe the force should be used or abused at all, yet they cannot deny their connection to one another.
Yana Ro, a cousin of Marda Ro, is arguably Path of Deceit’s most interesting character. While Kevmo and Marda are all-in on their opposing ideologies, Yana finds herself in a middle ground. She has no love for the Jedi and while she is a member of the Path, she is actively pursuing a way out of the cult over the course of the book. Her allegiances lie with herself and her girlfriend, fellow Path member Kor Plouth, as well as her cousin Marda.
Yana and Marda are both Evereni and of course share the same Ro family name as Marchion Ro, the main villain of The High Republic’s first phase and leader of the Nihil. There are a few hints here and there as to how their stories might connect, but you’ll have to read the book for yourself to pick up on those.
The Mother and the Path of the Open Hand
The Path of the Open Hand is one of the most interesting organizations in the long history of the Star Wars franchise. A “force cult” that believes that the galaxy should live in harmony with the force but not actually use it. The Mother leads the group. Therefore sending members out into the galaxy to spread the word of The Path with “gifts freely given”. However, she isn’t entirely the selfless prophet she presents herself as.
The High Republic: Path of Deceit Audiobook
For this review, I listened to the audiobook via Audible. Over the years, I have listened to a fair share of audiobooks and The High Republic: Path of Deceit (as read by Erin Yvette) has been a definite standout. Yvette’s performance was engaging, and the soundtrack was an amazing surprise. Star Wars audio presentations use existing Star Wars themes with the occasional new compilation. Path of Deceit, however, has new themes which add so much more to the new characters. Especially the themes for The Path. If you have the opportunity to listen to the audiobook, I would highly recommend you do so.
Star Wars The High Republic: Path of Deceit by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland is the perfect (re)introduction to an exciting new era of Star Wars storytelling. The new characters and the worldbuilding that surrounds them are a standout. The book perfectly balances new aspects and ideas while still feeling like a Star Wars project. I anxiously but excitedly await the continuation of this story. The next chapter, ‘The High Republic: Path of Vengeance’ by Cavan Scott, arrives early next year!
Listen to Star Wars: The High Republic: Path of Deceit on Audible.com. Additionally, you can purchase a paperback copy via Amazon.